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poetry

Segment 1: A young Kansas City poet reads Dear White Police Officer.

Veronica Clay was one of the featured performers at the Kansas City Jazz Museum for last year's Martin Luther King Day celebration (2019). This is a rebroadcast of a conversation about the poem she read, and her experience of race in Kansas City.

  • Veronica Clay, poet and spoken word artist

Segment 2: What premature birth can teach us about being human.

Karen Craigo

Karen Craigo is Missouri's new poet laureate. Gov. Mike Parson announced the decision last month that the "Marshfield Mail" editor and general manager will have the two-year position, replacing Aliki Barnstone.

Signet Classics

People still have things to say about "Moby-Dick," Herman Melville's 1851 novel about Captain Ahab's obsessive and dangerous hunt for a great white whale.

"I was expecting, like, a tedious and masculine slog through this sea-faring adventure, but there’s so much more going on in 'Moby-Dick' about gender and language and humor and American identity," said poet Danny Caine, who owns The Raven Book Store in downtown Lawrence.

Americans spend an average of 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime. So what we do at work isn't separate from life. It is life. At a recent event hosted by Central Standard, people gathered to tell true stories from life on the job. We're sharing a few of those stories with you here.

Jen Harris

Kansas City poet Jen Harris has 2,200 followers on Facebook, and she's open with them about her sexuality and her relationships. So they didn't hesitate to let her know when they saw her fiancée with someone else.

"People were messaging me on Facebook saying, 'Do you know your partner is at this bar with this person? Look.' It was pretty brutal," Harris says.

Seg. 1: A KU professor is raising the bar for the standard of evidence in psychology.

A recent study reveals that a high percentage of treatments long believed to be supported by evidence don't measure up to today's standards for repeatability. What that means for the field of psychology, and why a KU professor is obsessed with learning more.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

"I don't like sanitized spaces," says artist Harold Smith, whose house in Kansas City, Kansas, doubles as his studio.

It's about a mile from where he grew up. 

"I like diversity," Smith says. "So just regular working class people."

Library of Congress

Though Langston Hughes began his writing career nearly a century ago, Anthony Bolden says Hughes continues to speak to the current social and political climate — better than most contemporary writers do.

"In many ways, the current group of writers, that is to say creative writers and scholars, have yet to offer meaningful critiques or explanations for why we’re experiencing some of the things that are happening, or to demonstrate a clear understanding of the critical problems that we face," Bolden says.

Segment 1: Incumbent and challenger are campaigning to represent a district that runs from the Country Club Plaza to north of the Missouri River. 

A current Kansas City, Missouri, council member and a former businessman are vying to win the city's 4th District at-Large seat in the June 18 election. The candidates differed on government spending, develoment, climate change and crime.

Segment 1: The author of "One by One" shares his battle with opioid addiction.

Nicholas Bush found himself hiding from police for crimes related to his to an opioid addiction. After 10 years of drug abuse and the loss of two siblings, Bush was finally able to kick his habit after a dream involving his deceased sister.

Huascar Medina

Sometimes Kansas' new poet laureate feels isolated and in transition. Huascar Medina's mother is Panamanian and his father is Puerto Rican, but Medina was born at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Texas, and is an American.

"I'm no longer from Puerto Rico or Panama, but sometimes I don't feel I'm American enough either, you know? My Spanish isn't the best, and sometimes I struggle with my English, so I live in the in between," says Medina, who has lived in Topeka for almost two decades.

Eric Borden

A construction worker from Drexel, Missouri, is using poetry to positively affect the perception of blue-collar trades.

Eric Borden's poem "Ditch Diggers" is up front about the negative perception he’s battling:

You say the world needs ditch diggers,
that statement's true enough.
But if you're saying it because you think you're better than us,
then with you've I've got a grudge.

Segment 1: Unionization of Graduate Workers

At universities across the country, graduate workers are calling for better wages and benefits. In this conversation, we find out how this movement has permeated through Missouri.

Logan Action

When Hugh Merrill was growing up in the 1950s and '60s, he says a lot of things were simply true. Grandparents and parents were heroes, as was the United States. As he aged, those particular true things stopped being true.

"There was a very well-established truth about who we were, how we got here, what we did, how we saved the world in WWII, and all was good," he says.

Jason Dailey

Danny Caine is in an awkward position. On the one hand, as owner of The Raven Bookstore, he really loves all the independent shops that define downtown Lawrence. On the other hand, those big box stores and chains that threaten local businesses like his feel an awful lot like home.

So, he wrote some poems to try to sort it all out. That became "Continental Breakfast," his first collection.

Segment 1: How black cultural institutions can serve as a place for community healing.

It's no secret that Kansas City still bears scars of redlining and segregation, but it's not exactly something you bring up at a party either. So how do we have these important discussions to help our community move forward? A local poet has ideas.

Seg. 1 Gym Class. Seg. 2: Bob Stewart

Feb 6, 2019

Segment 1: A recent piece from The Atlantic sparks debate over the merits of gym class.

Gym class in school is supposed to be fun. But according to a new study, it may have a negative impact on students. In today's conversation, we explore the merits of gym and how a new crop of physical education teachers is trying to make P.E. enjoyable for every kid.

Segment 1: The crossroads of Super Bowl ads and social commentary.

After a year of socially-minded commercials from corporations like Nike and Gillette, this year's Super Bowl ads were comparatively tame. In this conversation, we look at how tensions around politics and identity played a role (or didn't) in the biggest marketing event of the year.

Segment 1: Indigenous women's leadership in the Heartland.

With the election of the first two indigenous women in Congress, including Kansas' 3rd District representative Sharice Davids, we look at what leadership means for indigenous women in our area and how that leadership develops within our community.

Michelle Boisseau

The internationally acclaimed Kansas City poet Michelle Boisseau died of cancer in November 2017. Though people will be able to read her work in books for the imaginable future, two other professional artists have now memorialized her poetry in an entirely different art form.

Don Ipock / William Jewell College

In 1982, William Jewell College of Liberty, Missouri, joined with Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Missouri, to begin a holiday tradition that the college called a Christmas gift to the city in words and music.

KCUR recorded this year’s performance on December 10 at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral for airing on Christmas Day.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How newly-elected lawmakers get up to speed before taking office.

There's new staff to meet, colleagues to greet, committee assignments, and dorms to move into — well, that last one might not apply, but becoming a new state lawmaker can be a lot like going off to college. We spoke with two freshman lawmakers from the Kansas City area about making the transition to the statehouse.

Segment 1: Kansas City poet wins International Latino Book Award

A local poet has won two major awards this year, for her work in both English and Spanish. On this episode, we speak with Xánath Caraza about poetry as a way to break silence, the best way to produce a lot of art, and the women that have had significant influence on her life. 

A white-haired man wearing glasses and a grey suit sits in front of a microphone in a radio studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The former Missouri senator balances heavy workloads as CEO of Truman Medical Center and president of the state Board of Education.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

The Writers Place is pulling up stakes from the Valentine neighborhood. 

Since 1992, a castle-like house at 3607 Pennsylvania has served as a "literary community center," home to countless poetry readings, workshops and art exhibitions. The non-profit organization headquartered there plans to relocate to a small office inside The Nonprofit Village, a co-working space at 31 W. 31st Street, in December.

Anne Kniggendorf / KCUR 89.3

Robert Stewart remembers when word got out that poet Amiri Baraka would read in Kansas City.

Stewart, who ran the Midwest Poets Series at Rockhurst University for 35 years, looked out into the audience when Baraka was in town and saw an enormous showing from the African-American community.

“It was just incredibly touching to me,” Stewarts says of seeing multiple generations of several families represented.

“The same thing would happen when we had Yehuda Amichai, the Israeli poet, and there would be a number of people from the Jewish community,” Stewart says.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Among the many art installations in Kansas City's Open Spaces arts festival, one in Swope Park explores John Milton's "Paradise Lost." It's the Biblical story of Adam and Eve's temptation by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

New Orleans, Louisiana-based artist Dawn DeDeaux admits that it’s not go-to reading for everyone. The epic poem in blank verse dates back to the 17th century.  

Two Missouri General Assembly candidates sit with headphones on behind microphones for a radio interview.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Parkville candidates for Missouri House look to replace term-limited state Rep. Nick Marshall.

Lauren Arthur's big Senate win in Clay County has many Missouri Democrats hoping the same could happen in the neighboring state House race for District 13. We sat down with the two major-party candidates to discuss their proposed policies on a gas tax increase, marijuana legalization, violent crime and more.

Segment 1: A new documentary illustrates the tension between police and African-American communities.

Black and Blue is a new documentary by Kansas City native Solomon Bass. In it, he follows a former police officer named Donald Carter, who struggles with the question of being both black and a police officer. Solomon Bass joins us to talk about the story behind the documentary.

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Classical music doesn’t have to be an intellectual exercise. For composer Ingrid Stölzel, it's an accomplishment when the audience feels goosebumps.

“It’s such an amazing thing we can experience when listening to music. It’s just a physical reaction to what we’re experiencing,” Stölzel told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “It’s a phenomenal thing.”

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